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J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Oct;27(10):915-20. doi: 10.1177/0269881113499829. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

Whole-exome sequencing identifies a polymorphism in the BMP5 gene associated with SSRI treatment response in major depression.

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1Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Estonia.


Although antidepressants are widely used in the pharmacotherapy of major depressive disorder (MDD), their efficacy is still insufficient as approximately one-third of the patients do not fully recover even after several treatment trials. Inter-individual genetic differences are thought to contribute to the variability in antidepressant response; however, current findings from pharmacogenetic studies are uncertain or not clearly replicated. Here we report the first application of full exome sequencing for the analysis of pharmacogenomics on antidepressant treatment. After 12 weeks of treatment with the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor escitalopram, we selected five clear responders and five clear non-responders for exome sequencing. By comparing the allele counts of previously known single nucleotide polymorphisms and novel polymorphisms we selected 38 markers for further genotyping in two independent patient samples treated with escitalopram (n=116 and n=394). The A allele, carried by approximately 30% of the patients with MDD, of rs41271330 in the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP5) gene showed strong association with worse treatment response in both sample sets (p=0.001), indicating that this is an promising pharmacogenetic marker for prediction of antidepressant therapeutic outcome.


BMP5; Major depression; SSRI; antidepressant; exome sequencing; pharmacogenomics

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